It during one Sunday that I got bored and watched the "Room for Improvement" program on TV. It was in one particular episode where an English Lady had a budget of GBP35,000 to renovate her basement for her visiting guests. I am not sure what happened but her renovating cost went up to about GBP52,000 (or was it GBP 46,000) due to unforseen circustances in the basement. I am not sure what went wrong since she made all the decisions herself......... Anyway, I am not sure what the two blokes (Dave & Angus) were supposed to be doing (or is it helping?), but they were close to saying, "Hey, you screwed up, not us. And we're trying to convince you its OK reno anyway. La de da, blah balh balh, lets have some champagne now, love."

What I was amazed with was that:
1) During the planning stage, she had to get approval from HER neighbours
2) The builders HAVE safety equipment
3) Structural Engineers DID visit the site and evaluate

Ha ha ha. Try doing those in Malaysia.

Anyway, at one point in the show, they were showing the victi... er, Lady the three different renovation scenarios based on the type of money she could be robbe.... er, come up with. And they were using this nice 3D software to visualise their ideas. And that software is called, SketchUp.

If you have used normal 3D programs before, then Sktchup is a breeze. But for a normal layman (OK, I have no luxury if time anymore), this software allows him/her to come up with a 3D model in the most easiest and shortest time. And its so easy to use. All you have to do is to make a basic square, divide it and either push or pull to get the basic shape and voila! It is so exciting.

Don't believe me, look what I did below from their trial version (8 hours limit). Based on their video tutorials, I can scan a customer's floorplan and then build a virtual model from it. You can export it as a graphic file or other 3D files which you can then render them in a more realistic scene.

Nice, hor?

Original Floorplan

Sadly, I thought their price of USD95 (MYR358.35) was too good to be true. It was, because that was the upgrade price (from version 4 to version 5). The actual cost of this amazing software is actually USD495 (MYR1,867.05) which is about everyone's average monthly salary here. So its either the baby powder or the software, no guessing which is more important.

So, the good stuff stops here. After 8 hours, it was kinda fun. But for that kind of money, right now, I can't afford it. Really.

Oh, and here are some of the effects I managed to get from SketchUp:

The X-Ray mode

The Hidden Line mode

The extended edges mode

The shadow effect at 1330 on 11th October

Then you put on some textures

SketchUp Website
Video Tutorials
Sketchup Gallery